Skip to comments.Learning in Dorm, Because Class Is on the Web
Posted on 11/05/2010 12:53:52 PM PDT by reaganaut1
The University of Florida broadcasts and archives Dr. Rushs lectures less for the convenience of sleepy students like Mr. Patel than for a simple principle of economics: 1,500 undergraduates are enrolled and no lecture hall could possibly hold them.
Dozens of popular courses in psychology, statistics, biology and other fields are also offered primarily online. Students on this scenic campus of stately oaks rarely meet classmates in these courses.
Online education is best known for serving older, nontraditional students who can not travel to colleges because of jobs and family. But the same technologies of distance learning are now finding their way onto brick-and-mortar campuses, especially public institutions hit hard by declining state funds. At the University of Florida, for example, resident students are earning 12 percent of their credit hours online this semester, a figure expected to grow to 25 percent in five years.
The topic [in a principles of sociology class] was sexual identity, which Dr. Joos defined as a determination made through the application of socially agreed-upon biological criteria for classifying persons as females and males.
She asked students for their own definitions. One, bringing an online-chat sensibility to an academic discussion, typed: If someone looks like a chick and wants to be called a chick even though theyre not, now they can be one.
Ms. Hartsock, 23, diligently typed notes. A hard-working student who maintains an A average, she was frustrated by the online format. Other members of her discussion group were not pulling their weight, she said. The one test so far, online, required answering five questions in 10 minutes a lightning round meant to prevent cheating by Googling answers.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
This presumes that the courses are worth taking. The sociology course appears to worse than useless, making students dumber than my 5yo (who knows that "boys" and "girls" are not arbitrary categories).
The answer, dear 23 -year-old undergrad, is look at the chromosomes.
Many top tech universities, such as MIT, CalTech, USC, UCLA and Stanford have been doing this for years.
“The educational value of online courses has been debated for years, based on a large but uneven body of research. An analysis of 99 studies by the federal Department of Education concluded last year that online instruction, on average, was more effective than face-to-face learning by a modest amount...”
How about they just stay home then and skip the whole dorm thing?
This has to change. And change big.
“Online classes OUGHT to lead to cheaper degrees, but they’re not.”
My daughter is taking online classes this semester. The cost is almost $400 more than on campus classes. It’s ridiculous, but we had no choice.
And it would cost $100 per semester, because they would use 100% pre-recorded classes.
They would only need a professor to write the final exam at the end of the year. Since everybody would be in the same room taking it at the same time, there could be no cheating.
The only reason we don't have this is because the ruling class of "educators" doesn't want to lose its cushy job.
But it is coming.
I like the idea of mixed classes-— Where you meet once a week or every two weeks as a class in a room and the rest of the course is done online and through office hours. Tests are done at the testing center.
That could work for courses which would involve nothing more than learning/memorizing facts. But what about those that require learning to reason or involve practicing techniques and skills with the tutelage of profs or assistants?
There are some interactive online courses with video/audio capabilities but the problem can be the instructor interacting one on one with the student, taking more time and effort. When you do it as a group, not all online students can do it simultaneously--often because they took the online course to avoid a fixed schedule. In other words, there's no perfect setup.
Do you have any examples of such classes?
Especially in the fields of, for instance, business or psychology or mathematics or any of the other fields that most college undergraduates pursue?
I forgot to mention that all-around waste-of-time bachelor degree that is so popular these days: “Communications.”
My libertarian side could see good teachers/professors simply offering their course online for a nominal fee and making a living that way, forget the colleges, decentralize everything and make it A la carte.
The ultimate purpose of a college degree is to get a job, doesn’t matter if a college gives you a piece of paper as long as the right place hires you.
It will happen.
Languages, chemistry labs, literature/philosophy, etc. come to mind. Even in mathematics, an interaction with the teacher would be important to understand difficult concepts that are not readily learned from a text or recording. Psychology courses also involve discussions/experiments/observations that are difficult to absorb solo.
Some online students may live half a continent away, making the journey to take the exam in person prohibitively expensive.
All this is not to argue against more online courses, but it is not (I think) the final answer. I have helped my wife teach some of these courses and interaction with students is necessary to clear up misconceptions, misunderstanding and lack of background knowledge.
The vast majority of kids are just their for the piece of paper. A "communications" degree is just a piece of paper. If all you want is the piece of paper it shouldn't cause you to be buried in student loan debt for the rest of your life.
The fact is, not many American students go after degrees in hard sciences and engineering because they are too... dare I say it? Hard.
In response, the professor replaced himself with a tape recorder and a note on the chalkboard:
I certainly agree with that. Not only are the physical sciences and engineering hard, so is everything else for an increasing number of students who don't have the necessary skills to perform well at the college level. The breakdown in secondary education is horrendous. As many have observed, a bachelor's degree is now the equivalent of what a high school diploma used to be. Even that might be an understatement.
Some years ago I ran across a program in which a university offered interactive classes by satellite link with private secondary schools who could not afford to get physics, calculus and other physical science teachers for their programs. The prof could hear questions from the students and respond in real time. That type of instruction could more easily be done by computer video now, but it would take a lot of coordination.
Let's face it. Most people, including most teachers and professors, aren't true "scholars." Most of them are following a career path laid down by forces beyond their comprehension.
Those people would be far better served by a system that costs 10% of what the current system costs to deliver the same amount of education. The social aspects of college have devolved for the most part into drunken orgies, and you can find that anywhere.
True scholars would be on a different track entirely, and it would be one of their own making, because that's what makes a true scholar.
I chose to not attend a huge state university, opting for a small liberal arts college. One of my concerns was the way that large universities held classes of some 200-300 students; access to the professor was difficult if not impossible under such conditions.
I chose wisely. I even had one class (American intellectual history) in which there were four students, taught by a PhD. professor. Try to find that at a large university!
Now, they are trying to separate the students from the professors even more via this online course approach.
I am so happy to have lived my collegiate life when I did.